Imagine a long line running from -100 to +100 and a zero point equal way between the two end points.
Now, at one end, the -100, is where the most hardened sinner that ever lived, who is also coincidently an out-and-out atheist would be found. On the opposite end, the +100, is where we would find the most saintly believer you could meet, or would have ever lived. Everybody else is on the line somewhere. Zero represents the point of initial surrender to Christ. Often we think that evangelism is about moving someone we meet from -40 to +10 in about 20 minutes! Even when someone makes a commitment abruptly they may have already been at -2 and only needed a nudge to +5. A nudge at the wrong time could have shot them back to -18.
The reaction of people to this analogy is interesting. Some immediately apply it to the impact they have on friends or acquaintances. Others personalize it: 'Before what happened this week I must have been about a -3, now I'm around +4.' ; or, 'I don't have a clue where I am....maybe a -10.' What we must not do is judge someone else's position. All that matters is that through being with us each person is drawn along the line closer to Chris, and not knocked farther back.
Have you ever a shepherd with his sheep?